There is a student in my class who is spending a year in Toronto with his family. He told me that it was his dream to come to Canada and study English. He failed nine times in the past five years before getting the timing right. It was then he mentioned his simple method of achieving his goals. All he does is keep a notebook with his goals written down with the steps to achieve them and some notes about his feelings about his journey.
Archives For advice
(On the cultivation of Loving-kindness and how it can help with hatred, getting along with others, and self-hate.)
When we think of meditation, we usually have this image of a person sitting in the full lotus posture and focusing on their breath.
Inhale. Exhale. Repeat to eternity or until you can’t feel your feet anymore.
For the longest time, this was the same image I had about meditation. Only this past Christmas Holiday I rediscovered the other way we could meditation.
Now, before I dive into the backstory of what led me back and the nuts and bolts of how you can practice, I want to say the many kinds of meditation techniques are wonderful tools for everyone — regardless of religious beliefs. It’s a great stress reliever and an anxiety management tool when dealing with different obstacles in life.
For this post, the name of game is Loving-kindness meditation (also known as Mettā meditation).
“Remember: you will never earn the same rewards as others without employing the same methods and investment of time as they do. It is unreasonable to think we can earn rewards without being willing to pay their true price. The person who “wins” at something has no real advantage over you because they had to pay the price for the reward.”
— Epictetus, A Manual for Living
There are times we can feel the overwhelming power of jealous and the great sense of failure when we size ourselves up with others who are deemed “successful.” Normally, I’m on my best guard when I let my own thoughts react to these situations but it was a special combination of “highly specialized individual” and the “undying thirst for knowledge.”
Then again, a good verbal barrage and the art of hijacking the conversation so you are the center of all things are usually what sells it home, especially giving it a few days to think about. To be honest, it started off as a friendly sharing of knowledge of literature and the love of books. I deeply wanted to get into the concepts and ideas of how stories are so great. It was on the topic of Russian literature (outside of popular culture, I knew little first hand) and French literature.
When it got to French literature, my brain connected towards to a recent purchase of The Count of Monte Cristo and how I wanted to see if this other person had read it and had an opinion of what the interwebs were saying about the new translation from Penguin Books was recommended as the best to read. I had only gotten the Modern Library version so… I wanted an answer if it was still worth it.
I never got that answer.
Supposedly, it takes an average of 66 days to make or break a habit. Nope, it’s not 21 days apparently as we once thought before so… more days, more fun! Don’t worry, it’s just numbers being thrown around, so it shouldn’t really matter at all because we should focus on that aspect too long. It’s good for a visual so you can see what the heck is going on (like having a physical calendar to cross each day off whenever your successful so you can have that gratification in completing something).
The days can be daunting but if you don’t get one down, you’ll never get to day two or day 66 or even… day 500. It’s all about routine and so… maybe it’s just wise for you to stop now and just open up that word document you have been putting off and just write out 500 words… no wait, make it just even 250 words. Yeah, that’s better… just do it.
It’s taking a long hard fight to realize that excuses are the enemy. That and blaming. While all that energy is being put into that pile of useless thought, we could be finishing that screenplay, doing push-ups, or finishing that book you left two months ago.
B-b-but, I’m just suffering from a block! I can’t get into the FLOW! It’s just a struggle! So, it’s okay for me to complain about the pain so I can deal with it… Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?
There is an idea that multi-tasking is the way to go. I know I can’t do it. I remember reading somewhere that it’s actually mono-tasking on steroids. Whatever the case, it’s almost impossible to keep track on things if I’m flipping back and forth between various things at the same time. Especially, if you have your phone sitting beside you and the notifications is on.
Our brains, as it seems, just can’t handle it all. For me, when it comes to prep work and planning my schedule, it’s, even more, a mess so the best thing to do is get it down — on paper or app. That way it becomes an external brain.